France says 'time has come' to ease tensions with Russia - The Libyan Report

France says 'time has come' to ease tensions with Russia

France said the time had come to start bringing Russia in from the cold as senior ministers held talks in Moscow on Monday for the first time since the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said a landmark prisoner exchange between Russia and Ukraine at the weekend had created a “window of opportunity” to ease tensions.

“The time is right to work towards reducing the distrust between Russia and Europe, who ought to be partners on a strategic and economic level.”

He welcomed “a new state of mind, which we have not seen for several years.”

He stressed, however, that it was still too early to lift international sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 over Crimea and its support for armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Mr Le Drian and Florence Parly, the French defence minister, held talks with their Russian counterparts as part of France’s ongoing efforts to reset relations with Russia. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, invited Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, to his summer residence on the Riviera last month in a gesture towards ending Moscow’s isolation. source